I've been using Twitter to post quick links to blogs and articles I find interesting. Here's a roundup of about a week's worth of my tweets about names, brands, and language (okay, and politics, too):
Convivium Brands, a California company specializing in "on-demand private-label wine and spirits brands," has introduced four varietals under a new wine brand: Lipstick on a Pig. Each bottle is available with a red (presumably Republican) and a blue (Democratic) label. According to the website: "Lipstick On A Pig Wines allow consumers to weigh in and voice their opinions with their palates!" (In case you missed it, you can read here about the political flap over the expression "lipstick on a pig.")
I got a kick out of Newsweek columnist Joe Klein's nickname for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin: "Embarracuda." Other nifty words in the column: "nothingburger" and "empretzeled."
Anyone else catch the name of the Treasury Department guy who'll be overseeing the $700 million financial bailout? It's Neel Kashkari. Yeah. Cash and carry. That's going to be everyone's motto pretty soon.
Writer Anne Lamott misses the late, great newspaper columnist Molly Ivins this campaign season. Me too. (Never heard of Ivins? Read my tribute to her.)
John McCain and Sarah Palin are fond of calling themselves mavericks. But a descendant of 19th-century Texas rancher Samuel Maverick--whose unbranded cattle were known as Maverick's--warns them to put a lid on it. Terellita Maverick, 82, a member emeritus of the San Antonio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, says McCain "is in no way a maverick, in uppercase or lowercase." "He's a Republican," she said. "He's branded."
Jay Rosen, who's on the journalism faculty at NYU and whom I follow on Twitter, suggests that Gov. Palin's speech patterns were influenced by her brief stint on a television news program, and directs us to Michael Kinsley's 2001 essay for Slate about "what TV news is doing to our precious verbs." Answer: they've been reduced to "universal gerundiciples." Judge for yourself. Here's Kinsley, in full parody mode:
I suspecting the trend of TV news talking in headline-ese traceable to Rupert Murdoch, who buys the New York Post many years ago and founding Fox TV News more recently. The Post famous for its brilliant headlines. Fox News, though hypocritical about denying its brazen right-wing politics, the most creative of the TV news networks.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Sarah Palin's "pompom patois and sing-songy jingoism."
Language Log's Mark Liberman takes issue with Dowd's assertion that one of Palin's spoken sentences--“It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there"--defies diagramming. He manages to wrangle it into shape. Other Palin sentences don't fare so well.
Two more Language Log posts on Palinesque predilictions: one on the governor's affection for affective demonstratives--the point words "this" and "that"--without referents ("loaning us these dollars," "trying to forge that peace," "craving that straight talk"), and one on her curious use of also as semantic glue, especially at the end of sentences.
And while we're in LanguageLogLand, here's Geoff Nunberg commenting on Steven Pinker commenting on Ms. Palin's pronunciation of nuclear:
Palin has to be aware that many people consider her pronunciation nonstandard, and she (or her handlers) seems to have made some effort at correction, which is presumably why she pronounced the word as "new clear" when reading off the teleprompter in her convention speech. Since then, though, it's been "nucular" all the way, which may be part of the "let Palin be Palin" strategy.
I'm learning the most interesting things from fashion blogs. For example, The Thoughtful Dresser (in the UK!) led me to www.270toWin.com, an interactive Electoral College map with current projections and actual results going back to 1789. And Je Ne Sais Quoi posted a nice graphic that compares the presidential candidates' tangible assets.
One more, then back to work: Critic Roger Ebert watched last week's vice-presidential debate and was reminded of Fargo. But he couldn't decide whether Sarah Palin was channeling Marge Gunderson or Jerry Lundegaard.